Baucus, Tester announce aid for Montana farmers, ranchers

Senators applaud assistance for 13 counties impacted by severe weather, insects

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Help is on the way for Montana farmers and ranchers impacted by severe drought, storms and insect damage in 13 counties this year, Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester announced today.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today agreed to declare federal disasters and provide relief for farmers and ranchers in Fergus, Judith Basin and Petroleum Counties. 

Some assistance will also be available to farmers and ranchers in Blaine, Cascade, Chouteau, Garfield, Golden Valley, Meagher, Musselshell, Phillips, Rosebud and Wheatland counties.

“This disaster declaration means that much needed assistance will get to the people who need it,” said Baucus, Chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee.  “Agriculture is Montana’s biggest industry and we’ll continue fighting to ensure that Montana’s producers have the support that they need.”

“This is welcome news for folks who have suffered some heavy losses this year,” Tester said.  “It’s been a rough year for some farmers and ranchers.  For those of us with our hands in the dirt, the weather is out of our control.  But it is in our control to provide a little help to the folks who are the backbone of Montana’s economy.”

Vilsack’s declaration cited natural disaster areas throughout central Montana as a result of severe drought, excessive heat, hailstorms, and insect damage in 2009.

The declaration clears the way for emergency loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for affected Montana farmers and ranchers.

Farmers and ranchers seeking assistance should contact their local Farm Service Agency office, or the state office at (406) 587-6872.